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Slaying suspect steals plane in Utah, crashes, then kills himself

July 17, 2012|By Michael Muskal

A man wanted in connection with a slaying in Colorado stole an airplane from a Utah airport Tuesday, then crashed it and killed himself with a shot to the head, officials said.

The man was identified as Brian Hedglin, 40, an employee of SkyWest, said Marc Mortensen, assistant to the city manager of St. George, Utah; the city of about 80,000 people is in the southwestern corner of the state.

Hedglin threw a rug over a razor wire fence at the St. George Municipal Airport early Tuesday, Mortensen said in a telephone interview with the Los Angeles Times. Wearing leather gloves, Hedglin climbed over the fence and got access to a SkyWest jet about 12:50 a.m.

Hedglin drove the plane past the terminal, clipped one wing on the building, then crashed the plane into some cars. A police officer on his security rounds found the plane in a parking lot, boarded it and found Hedglin dead from a shot to the head, Mortensen said.

Mortensen estimated the damage at several hundred thousand dollars. The airport terminal is scheduled to reopen Tuesday afternoon.

In a prepared statement posted on its website, SkyWest confirmed the incident and said an employee on administrative leave was involved. The airline did not identify Hedglin by name.

“There were no passengers on board the CRJ200 as it was not in service at the time,” SkyWest, a regional airline, stated. “The aircraft did sustain damage; the extent of the damage is currently being inspected by our maintenance and safety professionals. SkyWest is cooperating with authorities in the investigation.”

Hedglin was wanted in connection with a homicide in Colorado Springs, Colo., Mortensen said.

The body of Christina Cornejo, 39, was found in her Colorado Springs home Friday, according to the Gazette of Colorado Springs. 

Hedglin dated Cornejo for four years and was arrested in March after harassing her, said the newspaper, citing court records. Hedglin was free on $10,000 bond.

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Join Michael on Google+. Email: michael.muskal@latimes.com

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